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Joe Nelson - Blogs

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NBA LOTTO

By Joe Nelson
Posted 05/21/2009 at 03:52 PM

In what most consider one of the weaker drafts in recent years the 'storied' LA Clippers snagged the #1 pick and lone blue chip prospect Blake Griffin, should the Clippers opt to draft Griffin (stranger things have happened with this franchise). As always the NBA draft lottery raises questions and comparisons with how a draft order should be determined.

Certainly many highly regarded NBA draft picks flame out as busts but the percentage of players drafted in the NBA that turn into at least serviceable NBA players is so much higher than any other sport. Much of that has to do with only two rounds of picks but the number of NBA players drafted in the top few spots that end up out of the league in a few years is very few versus a fairly decent amount in the NFL and a great amount that never even make the big leagues in baseball.

Even with a much higher chance of a successful draft pick, the NBA shakes the draft order up and also has a great system that caps rookie salaries and contracts, though also guarantees a contract for first round picks. An NFL draft lottery would actually make more sense as given the contract demands most teams do not want the #1 pick and would prefer to draft in the 5-10 range. In the NBA draft, you definitely want the #1 pick, you'll pay fractionally more but you have a great chance to lock up a premier player a bargain pricing. The lottery does make it hard on the franchises like the Clippers that continually struggle but this year it worked out for LA as they leaped the two teams with the worst records in the league to grab the top spot.

Don't feel sorry for Griffin, he will be well paid and should put up good numbers immediately. He likely won't be able to make 'the Clip' a winner but he can jump ship in a few years like every other Clippers alumni and things will be fine. The Clippers ownership has to be excited as well, they get to pay a marquee big-name player a cheap salray and don't have to blow money on a few token free agent signings like they did last year. This should always be the way of the Clippers, just a docking spot for premier talent for a few years.

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